End the Marriage or Keep Trying?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I am a Canadian Woman married to a Mexican man. He has always had a more aggressive form of communicating than I do and since our marriage, a little over a year ago, he has become more explosive and less loving. This is perhaps the most prominent of our issues, among a slew of other cultural and familiar issues.

Our financial situation is greatly influenced by the fact that we are channeling all of our meager earnings into his fledgling taxi business, which has seen very modest growth over the past two years. He insists that in time it will provide us with an excellent quality of life and in several years it likely will. Meanwhile, I am making minimal payments toward my already 8-year-old student loan, with no end in sight. As I am 33 years old and haven’t yet had children, I would like to start building my family now with someone who I feel is supportive and stable and I would rather be doing it close to my family, as we have no relationship with my husband’s family and I have very few friends here. However, my husband is dedicated to his business and won’t move to Canada until his taxis become prosperous.

We love each other and am strongly committed to my marriage, but it is clear that neither of us feel appreciated, we have little in common and that our values are often different. Should I continue to work to improve our communication and strive to find common ground or should I leave, cut my losses and try to start over?

A. It would be a mistake and it would be unfair, to leave your partner without having tried to improve the relationship or at least make him aware of how you feel. This would be true for practically any marriage (except possibly in cases of abuse). What is a bit confusing about your question, however, is that you say you love each other and are strongly committed to your marriage but you asked whether or not you should leave him, as though it would be easy to do. Using language like “cut my losses” makes it sound as if you are asking for advice on how to handle a bad business deal rather than help for your “strongly committed marriage.” Maybe I mischaracterized your sentiment and if this is the case then I sincerely apologize but if you could consider leaving the marriage so easily when things get tough I just wonder how committed you really are.

I am also wondering about how well you knew each other before you were married. You wanted children and wanted to stay close to your family but now you are living in another country, far away from your family, seemingly without plans to grow your family. How did this happen? It may be that you did not give much thought about who you were marrying.

If you love your husband and are truly committed to making the marriage work then the most appropriate next step would be to consider marriage counseling. At the very least, you owe it to your husband to be honest with him and communicate your feelings to him about how you are feeling. Clearly you two have different wants, needs and desires but he may have no idea what you are feeling and he may be willing to come to some agreement that would be satisfactory to you.

These issues can possibly be worked out if the two of you are sincerely interested in staying married and making it work. Evaluating your situation in a counseling setting will answer many of your questions and then a decision can be made as to the best outcome for the both of you, divorce or further commitment.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Mar 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). End the Marriage or Keep Trying?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/03/07/end-the-marriage-or-keep-trying/